Thumbs in the middle

Best: Fatal Five Way
Worst: Neville vs. Aries

The good (main event, IC title) was great but the bad (CW title, woman’s title, escape the cage rules) was just awful. On the plus side I’m more excited for Lesnar vs. Joe than I’ve been for a WWE main event in ages.

– Nick Randall

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Thumbs In The Middle
 
Barely. This was a easy thumbs down show before Neville vs. Aries & the main event.

Best Match – Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt (Extreme Rules Match)
Worst Match – Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley (Kendo Stick-on-a-Pole Match)

Alexa vs. Bayley should really place high in the Worst Match of the Year category during the year end awards. House of Horrors will be more remembered by then but this match was almost equally as stupid. It just had the benefit of being far shorter.

– William Gregory

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Thumbs Down

Best Match: Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
Worst Match: Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley

I have cut way back on my WWE weekly television viewing with no regrets. If I do feel compelled to watch, it’s usually with Spanish commentary, especially in the post-Mauro era. And, mind you, I know almost no Spanish.

The reality is that watching in a language I don’t understand is proving to be a much less vexing way to take in the WWE product of 2017, with the added bonus of the comedy of the Spanish guys trying to translate using voices matching the various characters.

Typically I don’t like the WWE “hardcore” gimmick shows (Extreme Rules and TLC) as much as most, but this one in particular almost completely failed to resonate with me. And while the main event had some crazy spots and hard work, I felt almost no emotional investment in the participants or the product.

It didn’t help that the crowd was dead for the one match I actually cared about in Aries vs. Neville. Plus they did some strange things during that match, like having a DQ count, that took me out of it to a degree.

The best part of the night IMO was Miz on Raw Talk, via Renee Young, reheating the feud with Dean Ambrose that got shelved on SD Live before WM33 when plans changed. And that might be the first positive thing I’ve ever written about Raw Talk.

– Lou Pickney
 
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Hi Dave,
 
Just wanted to provide some feedback on Extreme Rules. Wow! What an awesome show! Big thumbs up with the best match being the main event Fatal 5 way for a title match and the worst match being Bliss and Bayley for the women’s title. 
 
I was really impressed with this show. This was a great show and a big improvement of the main roster shows as of late, this was really good compared to the previous shows with Payback and Backlash. It was a little shorter than recent shows which is a good thing, less is more in my opinion. 
With the network running shows long as of late, it was nice to see a good paced show end at just under 3 hrs. Anything over 3 hrs starts to burn out the crowd and the viewer at home as well. But in regards to timing, it was just about perfect. Now if they could only do this with Raw every week instead of a 3 hr snooze fest, lol! (But seriously, Raw needs to go back to 2 hrs!) But I digress…

Dean vs. Miz – Very good match, good to see Miz win the I/C title. Nothing wrong with Ambrose as champ. But the title seems to be more well served when elevated, and the Miz does an excellent job of that. Keep the title strong and constantly promote it just like the Miz does. With Dean as champ it just seemed like the title was more of a prop and Dean didn’t really emphasize the need to be champion.

Swan / Banks vs. Dar & Fox – This match was ok, nothing great but not bad either. Felt like a weekly Raw match. Good win for Swan and Banks as a team. Good for Swan in getting him over, not sure it really makes a difference for Banks. Was hilarious on the post show segment with Renee Young that Banks actually mentioned that finally someone was allowed to win in their hometown with Swan being from Baltimore, lol.

Bliss vs. Bayley – Um. Less said about this match the better. Not even sure it was a match or what they were trying to do? Seemed like a rushed mess of a match to me. I like both competitors and Alexa Bliss most definitely has the “it” factor, but this match just did not click. Just made Bayley look weak for no reason. I get the point that Bayley is “too nice” but still bad booking.

Hardys vs. Sheamus & Cesaro – Great tag title match in the cage, would have been match of the night if not for the main event. Was really good and just amazing how good the Hardy’s continue to be with both their storytelling in the ring and their match skills. Jeff Hardy is insane. Crazy dive off the cage. A good win and good direction for this feud. Very clever way to get the titles off the Hardy’s and still have them look strong. They shouldn’t lose any momentum from this loss. A good feud will grow with them chasing Cesaro & Sheamus for the tag titles. 
 
C&S have really improved as a team and click really well now, it took awhile. Really hoping the broken Hardy gimmick will be resolved soon and they can utilize it just because it was so different and entertaining. But the direction of the Hardy’s now is just fine.

Fatal 5 way main event – Roman, Bray, Balor, Rollins, Joe – Awesome match! Thought it would be too cluttered with 5 participants in this match since sometimes a fatal 3 way match is difficult to follow. But this was really well paced. 
 
All 5 guys looked strong, they really could have gone with any of the 5 men as a choice to win the match and face Brock for the title and it still would have a good program with Brock. It was an even flow of action, told a good story, some really good shots and crazy bumps. And going with Samoa Joe was an excellent choice for the win since Joe needed a win badly to keep him looking strong in the hunt with some recent defeats making him look a little weak. 
 
I think a match with Brock and Joe would be great, both men are monsters and can have a very physical match. I like the idea of these two facing each other.
 
Well for once this was a great paced show with great booking except for the women’s title match just not clicking. I enjoyed it and hope that timing on future shows is considered and having shows that run 2 1/2 to 3 hrs for a PPV is just fine. Anything longer then that is really overkill and not needed unless it’s something big like WrestleMania. But a solid outing for this show.

– Jon Southerland

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Thumbs Down

Best Match: Hardys vs Sheamus and Cesaro
Worst Match: Swann and Banks vs. Dar and Fox (but just about everything else was bad too.)

I thought this was quite poor. Watched with 6 other people, and someone fell asleep during the main event, and I had to force myself to pay attention. The Five way was good, I guess, but didn’t seem special or important, and it’s the typical WWE match that felt like it belonged on Raw and not a PPV event. 
 
Hardys match was the best, I thought, because there was intrigue there, but even that was a little inane because with the rules, I don’t understand half of the match, like why Matt didn’t let Sheamus go out and then follow right behind him, or the other multitude of spots.
 
I think the Bayley Bliss stuff has been awful because they seem intent on just making Bayley a dork, and I guess the feud is going to continue because the stip was that you’re only supposed to use the stick if you got to it first (?) which doesn’t make any sense, but if they want to keep the feud going and not beat Bayley clean (even though they just did) then I guess this is a thing you can do. Same rules question applied to Sasha and Swann vs. Dar and Fox, because I legit asked the room why Banks wasn’t DQed for attacking Dar. Just seemed like a weird, poor show overall with nothing memorable or exciting. 
 
For instance: the Cruiserweight match was well wrestled, but outside of Aries diving onto nothing, I will not be able to tell you anything that happened tomorrow. I legitimately haven’t watched Raw since the super star shakeup, and honestly, I have no desire to watch tomorrow now either. 
 
I hope Brock vs. Joe will be a good program, and maybe they’ll do something interesting, but at this point, with their current track record and the shows they’ve been putting out, I doubt it. They’ve turned people like Nakamura, Bayley and Finn (who’s lost, what, 4 matches since coming back?) from guaranteed money makers into people that are there and given terrible ways to “connect” with the audience. 
 
It’s just sad how uninteresting the product is right now, and how little effort it seems like they’ve put into making anyone feel special, to where the only the best guys like AJ, Owens and Joe even have a prayer of remaining engaging. They don’t seem to want to make anyone over, and the product is just there right now. This wasn’t as bad as Fastlane was, but it wasn’t worth the three hours of my time I spent on it.
 
– Jonathan Beckner
 
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Stepping back, Extreme Rules looked destined to fail. Since this PG Era came about, ‘extreme’ has been SEVERELY watered down. The match card even featured a match where the title changes hand by DQ, the very opposite of an ‘extreme’ match. 

The highlight, to me, was the Steel Cage match. Seeing Matt & Jeff flying all around the cage and the Whisper In The Wind brought me back to Hardy of 2007. The main event was fine, too. The problem I had was maybe it under delivered overall. I just didn’t feel too excited or felt they did much. Just rehearsed spots.

The ending came as a shock and disappointment. I believed Seth was going to win because people can afford a “One and Done” match between him & Brock. If not him, then definitely Wyatt. NOT Joe. Joe VS Brock is a dream match and should’ve been treated as such by having it drawn out for a long period of time. Instead, it’s going to be a usual squash match for Lesnar.

Overall, it gets harder & harder to watch WWE nowadays. RAW is short one champion, the star is who most people despise (but I think that’s changing), and those two are destined to fight for the title at Mania. What happens between now & April won’t even matter because of that. 

So, I’ll just stick with NXT & other promotions. At least they make me smile more than WWE.
 
– Centrell Hawkins

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Thumbs up overall, best match being the main event, a lot of fun. Worst match the women’s purely for how off-putting it was, I literally wanted to just stop watching and go to bed at 3 a.m. after that. 

Big fan of Bayley and it was just weird to see her as such an afterthought. This sort of stuff would’ve worked better before she won the title, now it just makes her look bad, I just don’t get it. I don’t want to go and see a movie where the bad guy gets the better of the good guy for 2 hours and then credits. Not even about her losing either, just how throwaway it all was, I dunno. Pointless, but always willing to see if it’ll pan out to something more interesting, but who knows.

– Luke Ryan

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I thought Extreme Rules was the drizzling shits. Every match but the main event was below 3 stars while the main event was just barely over 3. They didn’t tell a great story, just a bunch of WWE approved extreme spots. I’m happy that the Miz became Champ but the match itself was horrid, Dean had no heat and seems to be dead in the water creatively. Joe was the worst pick to win the main event. Seth and Roman could have lost to Brock and been fine. Finn and Bray could have lost and possibly turned, or shot an angle and been fine but Joe? He can’t turn babyface or change gimmicks after, he just got here. Joe HAS to win against Brock or he’ll be sharing beers with Ambrose on the totem pole. But it’s the WWE so no confidence.
 
– Tony Whitaker

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Preshow: Kalisto vs Apollo Crews was pretty good.

Miz vs Ambrose was okay, I found the gimmick to be amusing. Ambrose needs to be protected from here on, he’s being wasted in the midcard position.

Banks/Swann vs. Fox/Dar was a match, as Vinny would say. At least the right team won.

Alexa Bliss vs Bayley – HERE WE GO. This was terrible, and I’m seriously wondering, Dave, does Bayley have heat with someone important backstage? My goodness, the stipulation just ended up making Bayley look like such a dork. She was getting boos earlier in the night, too, it was not a good night for her.

Sheamus and Cesaro vs Hardys was a good match. I guess it was about time SheaSaro got one over on the Hardys, but where could the feud go from here? I feel like the Hardys might be going downhill from here on, like the Dudleys in their last return.

Neville beating Aries was disappointing. I’m glad Neville is still doing well, but this loss hurt Aries badly. I guess they’re building towards TJP vs Neville? Anyways, I feel like the crowd wanted to see more high flying out of this match.

The Five-Way probably saved the show (it did for me, at least). Everyone looked like a star, and we’re suddenly getting Samoa Joe vs Brock Lesnar. That could be a hell of a match, but I fear it’s just going to be a bunch of suplexes and F5s.

But seriously, who did Bayley piss off to get treated like this? Tell us, Dave, the world must know!

– Rene Ochoa

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Thumbs Up

Best Match: Neville vs Austin Aries
Worst Match: Noam Dar/Alicia Fox vs Rich Swann/Sasha Banks

It pays to be in the Shield if you’re Seth Rollins. Although the late money came in on Rollins, in the end Vince decided to go with Samoa Joe as the sacrificial lamb to Brock Lesnar at next month’s PPV. Which indicates that Rollins probably has a better shot for SummerSlam and then they move to rebuilding Finn Balor and giving him the shot at Royal Rumble, leading to Reigns and the big fourth attempt at the coronation. They should just do Reigns vs Cena if they want to do a straight passing of the torch. See who actually gets cheered in that match.

– Jeff Cohen

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Miz and Ambrose had a decent finish and good match in my thoughts. The steel Cage match didn’t do much for me. Rules did not make much sense for me and it didn’t catch my attention. Bayley and Alexa Bliss match was just bad. I love Alexa Bliss and Bayley but the booking is just abysmal. Bayley looks like an idiot and completely I likable and it just shows as before, she can not win without help from Sasha. 
 
The Submission match to me was the best wrestling on the card. I enjoyed it but now that Aries lost I don’t see nobody really to go and face Neville. The cruiserweight have been handled so dreadfully I cannot see anyone besides Neville holding the title. 
 
The fatal 5 way was good but not great. It picked up at the end. I did not understand the finish. Didn’t know you could end a fatal 5 way by knocking 1 of the guys out. Balor to me came out really weak on this. He has lost on already Raw and took the lost here. He still goes on about never losing the title but has not been built strong to back up the claim that he should have a title match. It seems too early for Samoa Joe vs Lesnar. That is something that should be built into a long term story.

– Kenneith Nieves

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What a match…I was on my feet in my living room..that spot on the apron was insane…his rematch at Dominion will be insane

Extreme was better than expected, as usual…was hoping A Double would take it, but Neville is just amazing…Kendo is not even worth a mention, as expected…Caesar deserves everything he gets…Joe vs Brock is fresh, a rare dream match…Finn still looked strong, really everyone did But Finn getting crazy was one of the big highlights for me
 
Even when WWE let’s me down, Progress, ROH and especially New Japan never disappoint
 
How can I forget Max Holloway and Claudia..just WOW…THAT’S HOW YOU BEAT A KING IN HIS VILLAGE…masterful performance

– Austin Kretsos

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Worst Match: Bliss-Bayley by a long shot
Best Match: Main event was entertaining but I say Neville-Aries was the best overall match of the night even though the crowd did not care all that much.

This show actually surpassed my expectations. I can’t go thumbs up with how they for some reason through the Drifter out there, the mixed tag match and how horrible the Bayley-Bliss match was. Rest was all good to very good. Thumbs in the Middle

Crews-Kalisto: I thought that was actually entertaining and it was nice to see crowd into it. Crews would do well in Cruiserweight division, although I would imagine he’s about 30 pounds too heavy for the 205 requirement if that’s still a thing. 
 
Ambrose-Miz: Thought this was really good. crowd was into it. Was happy with the finish with the teases of a DQ but actually having a finish. 
 
Mixed Tag: It was fine. A raw match to fill time. 
 
Bliss-Bayley: Ugh. That’s what they came up with? That was “This is your life” in a match form. Both Women deserve much better.
 
Cage Match: Found this to be on the safe side as far as the 4 guys in there, which I was fine with. Hardy’s are coming across as more than just a nostalgic act which is nice to see. Thought the match and drama at end was done well. 

Neville-Aries: Really sad they have pre-conditioned the crowd to not care about the Cruiserweights cause I thought these two told a great story and had a terrific match. Love the way that Neville has been booked since the Rumble. 

Fatal 5 Way: Pretty good match. Entertaining. The whole 5 people thing kind of makes it odd at times. Really picked up well at the end. Finn came across as a superstar that the crowd really wants to see. Time isn’t right quite yet for him. Loved seeing Joe get the Win. I’ve stayed away from reading the smart money coming in on the shows so was a nice surprise. 

– Mike Flynn